Sloan-C Endorses 'Quality Scorecard' for Measuring Quality of Online College Education Programs

release_date: 
April 5, 2011 - 9am

 

Self-assessment tool examines 70 quality indicators, offering online educators a standardized view of their program performance

NEWBURYPORT, Mass.April 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- As the demands for public accountability increase for higher education, institutions are seeking methods for continuous improvement in order to demonstrate quality within programs and processes, including those provided through online education. To support the needs of its member institutions with regard to quality measurement and improvement, the Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C) today announced its endorsement of the "Quality Scorecard for the Administration of Online Education Programs."

"We are committed to championing quality in online education and providing our members the resources they need to be successful," said John Bourne, Ph.D., executive director of the Sloan Consortium. "We believe the Quality Scorecard is a breakthrough tool for standardizing the industry and for enabling online learning institutions not only to measure and report on the quality of their programs, but to identify areas for improvement."

The Quality Scorecard was conceived through a six-round Delphi study led by Kaye Shelton, Ph.D., Dean of Online Education atDallas Baptist University, with 43 seasoned administrators of online education programs who agreed upon 70 quality indicators that administrators should examine within their programs to evaluate quality.

"By evaluating each of the respective quality indicators within the established categories of the Scorecard, online administrators can determine strengths and weaknesses of their programs," said Scorecard architect Shelton. "The identification of the weaknesses can be used to support program improvement and strategic planning initiatives. The Scorecard may also be used to demonstrate to accrediting bodies, elements of quality within the program as well as an overall level of quality."

The 70 weighted indicators of the Scorecard measure quality across nine categories: institutional support; technology support; course development and instructional design; course structure; teaching and learning; social and student engagement; faculty support; student support; and evaluation and assessment. Scoring is as follows:

 

210: perfect

 
 

189-209 (90-99%): exemplary - little improvement needed

 
 

168-188 (80-89%): acceptable - some improvement recommended

 
 

147-167 (70-79%): marginal - significant improvement needed in multiple areas

 
 

126-146 (60-69%): inadequate - many areas of improvement needed throughout the program

 
 

125 and below (59% and below): unacceptable

 
   

 

"What is unique about the Quality Scorecard is that practical perspectives of professionals and experts substantiate the research base of the specific metrics," said Maria Puzziferro, Ph.D., president and provost, Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design. "In addition, it provides a holistic view of any online program, without creating a complicated array of discipline-specific metrics. It enables an administrator to uncover areas of strength and weakness, and then develop strategies and programs unique to the institution and discipline. I am looking forward to implementing the Quality Scorecard at RMCAD, and believe that it will be an invaluable tool for us to compare the quality of our online programs to our peers."

The Quality Scorecard can be viewed for free on Sloan-C's Web site athttp://sloanconsortium.org/quality_scoreboard_online_program. On April 13, Sloan-C will introduce an interactive version of the Quality Scorecard for Sloan-C members during a free webinar titled, "Using the Quality Scorecard for the Administration of Online Programs." The webinar, facilitated by Dr. Shelton, will introduce participants to the Scorecard, providing a brief rationale and history of its development, directions for using the interactive scoring method, including uses of the Scorecard for internal strategies and external reporting and benchmarking. For more information and to register for the free webinar, visithttp://sloanconsortium.org/webinar_scorecard_apr2011.

About Sloan-C

The Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C) is an institutional and professional leadership organization dedicated to integrating online education into the mainstream of higher education, helping institutions and individual educators improve the quality, scale, and breadth of education. For more information, visit www.sloanconsortium.org.